Communicate with the teacher
There are times when the homework truly is too much for a child. I encourage a parent to let a child do as much as they can do, but once they are tired and shut down that's it. Family time and sleep are far more important. A parent can send a note to the teacher explaining that an effort was made and that this child needed more time. In this way, the school team is aware that the child is truly having trouble with the amount of work or the grade level of the assignments.
Advocate for your child. Sometimes homework is not necessary. My first grader reads at a third grade level. Completing his reading log is annoying to him and I don't force him. He reads every night on his own. I want him to continue to love reading and not be turned off by filling out logs.
Traditional homework may not be a good fit
It is really important to note that some children are really not meant for traditional public education. Perhaps they are more into social interaction and not into memorizing. For these children, the traditional school systems where they’re expected to take in information will be very difficult. Parents have to tell their kids there are seven different kinds of intelligence. Memorizing is just one. Just because you don’t do well in school doesn’t mean you won’t achieve later. In fact, I know many kids who did very poorly in school (Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg) but when their parents reassured them that they had other kinds of intelligence and other strengths, the kids did really well in the real world.
I would suggest being supportive of and encouraging of your child's wishes to not do homework rather than re-enforcing the coercive maneuvering of their school system to force them to do things they don't want. With regards to homework specifically, researcher Alfie Kohn has shown that there's never been a single study performed proving the effectiveness of homework in improving learning. We've simply assumed it's good for the child and we are forcing them. There is a huge problem in our education system with forcing kids to do things they don't want. Don't join the bad side - come to the light. Using force and coercion with our children is a horrible approach to teaching.
Does your child have a learning disability?
If your student isn’t able to finish the homework in a reasonable time frame, reach out to your student’s teachers and administrators to begin a conversation about homework practices. Students with learning disabilities may receive accommodations to assist them in accessing the curriculum, and these accommodations are also helpful in overcoming homework struggles. Accommodations are specific to your child’s educational needs, and it is important to secure the correct accommodations to allow your student to acquire and demonstrate mastery of class content. For example, a student with dyslexia who reads slowly and effortfully benefits from having an audio version of the textbook available at home. This allows the student to access the information in the text, despite having difficulty reading. A student with dysgraphia benefits from ways other than writing to demonstrate knowledge. This may include oral responses to homework questions, completing a verbal or visual presentation rather than writing a paper, or using technology to support drafting the paper. Reducing the amount of homework assigned to a student may also be an accommodation provided to students with learning disabilities.
As a parent, you are one of your child's greatest assets. You know them better than anyone, and being on their side when you feel they are truly being given an unfair amount of work is vital to their success!
That's not all -- you can find more homework avoidance tips here! Learning Success System can also help you find which micro-skills need strengthening and increase learning ability -- take our free assessment here!
This is part two of a four-part series.
Here's Part One.
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